Editor’s note: Vision of the arrest and the latest Operation Arkstone infographic is available via Hightail.
A Surry Hills man has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment by the Sydney District Court today (24 November, 2022) after pleading guilty to eight child abuse offences.
An investigation into the man, 42, began when he was identified through the nationwide AFP-led child protection investigation known as Operation Arkstone.
The AFP’s Eastern Command Child Protection Operations team executed a search warrant at his Surry Hills home on 17 September, 2021 and found child abuse material on a mobile phone and laptop.
He was arrested and charged with multiple child abuse related offences and the devices were seized for further examination.
Constable Emily McFarlane said the charges demonstrated the AFP’s commitment to identify and prosecute offenders involved in child exploitation and sexual abuse.
“Anyone who views this material is enabling the harming of a child, and helping prop up a vile industry that will abuse more children to satisfy the demand,” Constable McFarlane said.
Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.”
The man pleaded guilty on 7 June, 2022, to the following charges:
- One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- One count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- One count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- One count of using a carriage service to produce child abuse material, with the intention that the material be used by another person to commit an offence against 474.22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), contrary to section 474.23(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- One count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material to self, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Two counts of using a carriage service to transmit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19)(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
The following charge was taken into account in sentencing the offender, in accordance with section 16BA of the Crimes Act 1914 :
- One count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years.
The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.
The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.
An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE ‘Closing The Net’ is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a ‘whole-of-community’ response.
The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.
Note to media:
Use of term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’
The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.
Use of the phrase “child pornography” is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:
- indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
- conjures images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.
Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
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